How will breastfeeding affect my libido?
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions
Q. I am going back to work after maternity leave. How can I continue with breastfeeding? I am also concerned about the effect of extended breastfeeding on my libido.
A. The transition back to work after maternity leave can be emotional. If affordable, breast pumps offer working mothers the flexibility to maintain their milk supply and the baby continues receiving breast milk even in your absence.
At work, a supportive environment can be created for mothers to pump. A private, clean room and a bar fridge to store expressed milk can be arranged.
It may also be the right time to get back into your sexual pleasure routine, and pumping can relieve the engorgement of breasts and also prevent leakage during periods of excitement. Leakage is expected and normal, so don't feel embarrassed about this.
As for your libido, that can go on and off depending on your personal experience. It may not be linked to breastfeeding. Some people may find they are not back to feeling their usual selves a few months after giving birth and some of us are just tired.
Breastfeeding can affect this, but does not necessarily have an effect on some people.
BREAST IS BEST
Remember, breast milk is preferred for all infants and is still the best way to feed babies, including premature and newborns who are ill.
One of the most common concerns caregivers have is whether the supply will meet the demand of the baby. The supply will respond to the baby's needs. The more baby suckles, the more milk will be produced.
There are many other some instances where mothers cannot breastfeed and formula remains a valid replacement.
Some women may have had breast-reduction surgery or breast implants and may not be able to breastfeed because of the surgery, while others may experience a decline in milk production.
A lactation doula or midwife can assist mothers and caregivers if they experience difficulties breastfeeding. They can assist with latching, burping, how to hold the baby for feeds and give advice on colic, frequency of feeds and how to express and store milk.
Breast milk provides the right balance of nutrients for optimal growth and development and the content of the milk at three months will differ from what you will produce at six months.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, Disa Clinic, safersex.co.za.
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